Abundant Miracles
Podcast #18 — Aired February 27, 2014

Life is full opportunities to create abundant miracles. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk with one woman who turned her life around to serve others. Our guest is Caroline Boudreaux, founder of The Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping orphans realize their full potential. Boudreaux will discuss her mission and inspire listeners to recognize the abundance in their own lives. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Caroline Boudreaux
Founder, The Miracle Foundation

Caroline Boudreaux founded The Miracle Foundation in 2000, after she visited India for the first time. From the first moment she met a group of more than 100 orphaned children and witnessed their beautiful smiles and incredible potential, she committed her life to helping them realize that potential. Caroline was born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana and attended L.S.U. where she earned a B.S. in psychology. Prior to her nonprofit work, she had a successful career in media advertising. For her achievements with The Miracle Foundation, Caroline was presented with the Hope Award in 2005 and the Impact Award in 2008. In 2009, she was invited to join the Young Global Leaders, a community of the World Economic Forum. She has been featured in various forms of media, including CNN and “One Peace at a Time,” a 2009 film by Turk Pipkin. In 2011, Caroline completed a prestigious course on Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century at Harvard University.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Joining us today is Jenn Lim, CEO of Delivering Happiness, a company co-founded with Zappos.com CEO Tony Shay with a mission to inspire science-based happiness, passion and purpose at work, home and everyday life. Happiness expert Dr. Matthew Della Porta will be joining us later in the show but right now, let me first take the time to introduce Jenn Lim. Jenn has been a consultant at Zappos from its start-up days in 2003 to the 2 billion dollar business it is today. One of her creations, the Zappos Culture Book has become a global symbol of how companies can use happiness as a business model to increase productivity and profitability. In 2010, Jenn led the launch and management of Tony's first book, Delivering Happiness, which has sold over a half million copies worldwide and recently hit #1 on best sellers list. Delivering happiness has evolved from a book to a bus tour and now a company and global happiness movement represented by people from over 110 companies. Today Jenn is dedicated to growing the Delivering Happiness movement so we can all pay happiness forward so Jenn, welcome to the show.

Jenn Lim
Thank you so much for having me.

Raymond Hansell
You're very welcome. Its great to have you on the show today because just to discuss happiness in this case as a business model. In our last company, we discovered how a happy work culture leads to great success and its what inspired us to create our current company, The Better World group and the BetterWorldians Radio dedicated to making the world a better place. Now you worked at Zappos as a consultant in the beginning to put together a Culture Book that transformed the entire company. Can you tell us a little bit about what that Culture Book did at Zappos?

Jenn
Sure, it actually just started as an off the cuff idea at a point where many people don't know this. If you are familiar with Zappos everyone always thought that Zappos was all about culture and employees and their happiness in the beginning but actually they didn't do it until it was about five years into the life of the company when they realized that how are we going to actually -- when usually a culture doesn't scale with the growth, how do you actually address it so it not just scales but it actually gets better as you get more people and you have bigger growth in revenue. So at that time, they decided to basically develop their core values and that sounds kind of a corporate type of word and term and many times it is but what Zappos decided to do was take those core values and actually embed it into how they do business. So as an example, half of the candidates that walk through the door are evaluated on skill sets but the other half of that candidate is evaluated on culture fit. So if at the end of the day there's an amazingly talented person in what they do, if its not a culture fit, then they actually won't be hired. And so what was decided was that if you're going to try and define what a culture means for a company, how would you go about it and be authentic at the same time. So what we decided to do was actually ask the employees and so basically we said, can you describe in two to three paragraphs how you would describe Zappos culture. And we basically published that all in a book and we did it without any edits except for typos or spelling errors because we wanted to show what was going well and we wanted to show what wasn't going well. So we actually published the stuff that was basically when people thought things were bad, thought things were not going well at Zappos. And since we've started doing that, this is the 8th edition that we've done because now we do it every year, because it becomes such a real and authentic sort of blueprint and snapshot every year as to what's going well and not going well. What can you work on? What do you have that's going well that you can continue? And so with that it became a tool in how you actually improve culture over time and that's the Culture Book. And I actually wanted to offer it to anyone that's listening, to your audience, because we send it free to anyone that asks for it so if you want to shoot me an email its just Jenn@DeliveringHappiness.com, and that's Jenn with two n's, J-E-N-N.

Raymond Hansell
Thank you, Jenn. That's great. That's amazing. So the Culture Book started as sort of a jumping off point for focusing eventually on happiness at Zappos which ultimately led to the Zappos CEO Tony Shay's book, Delivering Happiness. Can you tell us a little bit more about the book, Delivering Happiness?

Jenn Lim
Sure, yeah, so I guess a few years after the Culture Book came out and then I just kept on doing consulting projects with Zappos and then after a certain point in time people kept on asking Zappos and Tony how did you do what you did, basically using happiness as a business model. So after all these questions and after Tony realized especially after the sale of Zappos to Amazon a few years ago for about 1.2 billion dollars at the time of closing, a lot of people felt well what a success story. What an overnight success story and that kind of well it hit a raw nerve because a lot of people knew Zappos wasn't an overnight success story. There were a lot of ups and downs. So when the publishers came to Tony and said can you write a book about this and so he said yes and he basically asked if I wanted to be a part of the project just because I've been consulting at Zappos for so long, worked on the Culture Book and just basically we thought it'd be a good project to work on. And since that point, it was pretty surprising as we didn't predict in many ways because we actually thought we were just going to check it off the list of things to do. But what evolved was actually a -- it sounds kind of funny but a demand for happiness and that's what was unexpected. On one end, we heard from businesses that said you know this is very interesting. How can we apply it to what we're doing in our work place? What was unexpected was that we heard from other people outside of the traditional business space. So there were students and teachers, people working in government or hospitals, even moms and dads. One mom wrote to us and said, thanks for writing this book. I wanted to be the CMP, the chief managing parent of my household because I believe that I can apply core values to my family as well. And so because of all this demand that we heard, and especially internationally, and its interesting because its been a few years but now that we look back there's actually our client growth because now we consult and coach companies, have grown about half are domestic here in the U.S. and the other half are actually international. So what we realized was there was this sort of global tipping point as to what the sense of happiness and scientific application of happiness and positive psychology and how it can be applied in a workplace or in general life. So that's kind of the long story to your question about what happened with the book and where its been since then.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, once you plant the seeds of happiness sometimes you have to stand aside because it may flourish more than you can possibly expect and that's a positive. Let me turn this over to Greg for a few minutes.

Gregory Hansell
Hi Jenn, this is Greg.

Jenn Lim
Hey.

Gregory Hansell
So that book led to the company of the same name delivering happiness of which you are CEO and chief happiness officer. You talk about happiness as a business model. What does that mean?

Jenn Lim
Sure, so what it comes back down to for us is that oftentimes happiness can come off as a fluffy word. Everyone has their own subjective opinion as to what happiness means. But what we always bring it back down to, as I mentioned earlier, is the science of it and positive psychology and so how we can apply those sort of academic topics and research to a more practical and tangible setting and results. So what we've seen in our experience of what we do in other companies and what we've seen in research done from the Harvard Business Review, to the Economist, to Shawn Achor. He has a great book called Happiness Advantage. By increasing levels of happiness in a scientific way, you actually see the results in higher productivity, higher engagement with your employees, higher creativity and at the end of the day higher profitability because employees actually want to show up to work so there's higher retention and basically employees are engaged with not just the role or their task at hand but the company's higher purpose. So the simple equation for us when it comes to happiness in the business model is that if you can create a workplace that can make your employees happier, your customers will actually be happier as well, and as a result you'll have a more long-term sustainable brand, more profitability, and at the end you're creating more meaningful lives whether its in your workplace or the customers or your entire ecosystem of what your business touches.

Gregory Hansell
So how can CEOs and business owners really begin making happiness their business model?

Jenn Lim
Yeah, that's certainly a loaded question. There's so many ways to go about it. Its almost asking how can you as an individual become happier today, and we all have different answers for that because it really depends on where that person or where that company is. But at the end of the day, what we look at is how do you sustain the happiness over time and that applies to whether its a CEO in a company. Like how do you as an individual sustain happiness? And the same paradigm of what we've seen in that question itself applies to how you sustain happiness in a company. So if I go from a paradigm/framework level, there are certain things that can increase happiness and success in a company. I'll just name a few of them right now. One of them is giving a greater sense of control to your employees. Giving a greater sense of progress so that they feel they're developing, growing in their role and giving a sense of connectedness so that they're actually feeling that they're having more meaningful relationships with their co-workers, their bosses, etc. And this is actually the most important one, giving them a sense of purpose, not just in their own individual role but as a company. Maybe you're selling widgets, maybe you might be selling shoes. Whatever you're selling, if you connect it to a higher purpose, and I think there's certain companies out there that have done a really good job of this, like Apple is a huge one of their employees really connected with their higher purpose outside of the products that they create. There's another company called Method Soap and they're based here in San Francisco. Basically they're connected to not just their environment but what they're doing as a higher purpose. We're not just selling soap. So if you think about all of these things and youre a CEO listening to this, hopefully you can imagine all these different ways how you can provide these ways to increase your employees happiness. But if I boil it all down right now, number one, the biggest thing that I think about is what the DNA of your company is. Essentially your DNA equals your values and are they actually being lived by on a day-to-day basis. I talked about values before but it becomes so important because as a person we all have values and if they're not synchronized or aligned with the company's core values, that as I've seen time and time again, is the number one problem as to why employees aren't feeling connected to their everyday work and ultimately their company's purpose.

Gregory Hansell
Well how about the work that your company, Delivering Happiness does working with businesses to help them achieve those ends. What kind of things do you do?

Jenn Lim
Sure, so number one, as I talked about in the DNA, if they have core values already, we help them visit them and say are you actually living by them. So we develop metrics and tools and essentially ask whether or not employees are behaving by those values. So again going back to the science of it because number one for us is we want to have measurable happiness and basically correlate that to real business results. So we go in and take a benchmark. How happy are your employees? So each employee goes in, takes a survey and what comes out of that is what we call a happy business index. This tool was developed by a gentleman by the name of Nic Marks, and he has a pretty popular TED talk called the Happy Planet Index. And so basically we're working with him and how we're creating the happy business index in the world. And so by taking the snapshot we not only get a sense of individual happiness, we also get a sense of overall company happiness, and we can slice and dice the data by geography or department etc. Once we get a sense of the happiness levels, we can actually use that data and make actionable recommendations as to where those sort of weak points in the company are, whether its the system, meaning the organization is not adequately supporting the employees, or whether its actual function within the company of these employees, or the actual experience. So basically as I mentioned earlier in terms of the how we look at the scientific ways to change and increase happiness, we drill down in different levels and make those recommendations and basically correlate it to whatever metric that that company is trying to improve. So as an example, we worked with a company last year and by developing these sorts of values and developing behaviors out of those values, and taking these benchmarks with a survey tool we were able to show that they increased their sales by 39% from the year prior. And their level of employee retention and engagement we measured that by in terms of how many employees were retained from the year prior and we increased that to 90%. And so we -- as I'm trying to stress this whole thing of the happiness as a business model, we want to take the sort of basically suck the fluffiness out of happiness and apply it in real ways that any C-level exec can understand that it just makes scientific sense and it also makes business sense for a company, and at the end of the day we feel like it makes human sense too.

Gregory Hansell
I'm really glad you underlined that. I think a lot of people think of happiness as something that is just fluffy, and you know fluffy is nice but happiness can really change the world. That's something we talk about here every week on BetterWorldians Radio so I love that you're trying to bring some of the metrics and some of the analysis to it and say hey look, here's actual proof. Happiness is changing your business.

Jenn Lim
Yeah, and the great thing is that were not the only ones saying it because here we have Zappos as a great case study. Now we're working with other companies and what's been great is that we realize regardless of the industry or the size of business, we've worked with companies from huge companies like HP to smaller teams like the TV producers of the show Lost. I don't know if you guys remember that show, but basically understanding that by applying these frameworks to these different groups, we can have real results from it. And so as I mentioned earlier, its not just us. We have more and more experts in the field from Harvard Business Review to the United Nations. They basically released their first report, the global happiness report last year and they're going to do it every year. So its not just a nice to have in life. What's great to see is that people are just realizing that if we prioritize happiness in the way we're being true to ourselves, true to our values in life, true to our passions and purpose, then we can as Delivering Happiness, we feel that we can actually increase our levels of happiness in the world. Right now we're doing, as you guys know, preaching to the choir but we're trying to do it one person and company and community at a time.

Gregory Hansell
I think its great. So if there's a business out there that needs your help, how can they contact you?

Jenn Lim
Well as I mentioned earlier, just shoot me an email. That's the best way because we basically offer free toll calls to anyone that's interested. We also offer the survey tool that I mentioned free to individuals that they can try out and see. Basically we just want to make it easy for people to see how conceptually this happiness concept can be used, and then we can give recommendations on how to go about using it. There's also an ROI calculator on our website that you can see if you focus on the well-being of employees how much money you're saving in the end versus seeing it as an expense. But yeah, just shoot me an email and again my email is Jenn@DeliveringHappiness.com.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you. So let me ask you may be a tough question.

Jenn Lim
Sure.

Gregory Hansell
What if your company doesn't get behind happiness as a business model. We know those companies are out there. I've actually worked for some. How do individual employees increase their happiness in the workplace?

Jenn Lim
That's a super question and actually its one of the most asked questions we have because here I go around different parts of the world and talk about happiness and its been again really surprising to me because we were getting invited by countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, the Caribbean, well they're a pretty happy place but going back to a country like Venezuela, who in the world thought that a country like that would see economic value in happiness. And so one of the questions that come up, because we talk to conferences, not just businesses as well are employees that say you know this is all great and this sounds exactly who I am and what I'm liking but my manager or my CEO would never understand this. And so that's why we kind of break it down to this sort of simple model that we think about. If you can imagine three concentric circles, in the middle is me, and outside of that is we, and then outside of that is the community. So our fundamental belief is that unless you have an ability to affect the me, and that comes down to happiness is a conscious choice, and so even if you don't have people in your workplace or people in your community, or people on the street that are happy like you, we always have that control of creating a happier me. So if you image yourself on a team that you go to every day and there are certain people that you do connect with and maybe there's certain ones you don't. The whole idea of creating more meaningful relationships is to focus on what you can create. What is it around your environment that you want to be able to create more happiness in your life? What is it that you can do with these people that you do connect with that creates more meaningful relationships? What is it that you can produce that you feel that you're giving back to the world, or you're becoming a more productive or actually learning new ways to do the tasks that you're doing? How can you feel that whatever you're doing at the end of the day that you have control of that and you can create something more meaningful to someone else's life? As an example, we visited a hospital in Boston, Boston Children's Hospital, during our bus tour after the book came out and they said to us, what is it that we're doing wrong because obviously we know our purpose. We want to keep kids healthy, but yet why are our employees so unhappy? So we said well let's think about probably one of the most important segments of your employees is your frontline, and that's your receptionist, because that's the first point of contact your "customers" your patients are going to be in contact with. So how do you as a company, or as an organization, or as a hospital empower them to feel that they own that experience? They know exactly the mindset of that family coming into the room. They're obviously in a negative mindset because they're unhealthy or they're not feeling well etc. How do you empower them to control that experience so they feel that they can change someone's life at that moment? And so that was just one example of taking -- you're not increasing, you're not having to increase the budget or the pay for a certain person but its really the empowerment of how you can take control of that particular experience. That's kind of one example.

Gregory Hansell
Excuse me one second. One minute left before break but everything you're saying is really to this last question and I want to give you an opportunity to answer it because I think it's important about what you're doing. Like I said, we only have a minute before break. I know that you call delivering happiness also a global movement and so just tell us if you can in just a minute about this movement and how you think it can make not just better companies and people but really a better world?

Jenn Lim
Sure. At the end of the day, what we feel is that whether you're an employee or workplace, you're actually a person too. And you might be a mom or a dad, or you might be a brother or sister, and so at the end of the day, even though we're focusing on workplaces, we all know that, and we have this concept called work life integration. Its not separation or balance. We at the end of the day if we are happy at work, we're going to be happier at home. And so our focus is not just companies. We think we can impact communities and we're inspiring them by creating mini TED talks and I can share what that means if you shoot me an email. And at the end of the day we're increasing happiness in individuals by providing tools and education online and in person. So what we're seeing right now is that there's again this tipping point and by scaling what we're doing because we all know happiness is contagious, we believe one by one we're creating a happier world.

Raymond Hansell
Well thank you Jenn. We'd like to thank you for joining us today to share the Delivering Happiness mission with our listeners. You can find out more about Delivering Happiness by going to DeliveringHappiness.com. We need to take a break right now. I'd like to offer this challenge to our listeners. If you know someone whose acts no matter how small are making a difference in the lives of other people, we'd love to hear about them. Tweet us at #BetterWorldians so we can let the BetterWorldian community know. When we come back we'll be joined by happiness expert Dr. Matthew Della Porta. Meanwhile, you can follow our live tweets at Twitter.com/BetterWorldians and we'll be right back. (Music) Have you friended us on Facebook yet? Why not? Just go to Facebook.com/WorldTalkRadio or search for the keywords World Talk Radio. Once you're a part of our Facebook network, you'll receive daily messages about what's happening with our shows, this week's featured guests and new happenings at the World Talk Radio network, and you can add your voice to the always active discussions on our timeline. Just go to FAcebook.com/WorldTalkRadio or search for World Talk Radio. (Music) How can we make it a better world? I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. Everybody needs to help their neighbor and then it'll spread from then on. I should do more. I could do more. I spend so much time on Facebook. How much time do I spend on Facebook? Probably more than I should be spending. I would definitely give back if I could find the time. Now, you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. Its called a Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. For more information visit Facebook.com/ABetterWorld. (Music) What's going on behind the scenes with your favorite voice America show or host? For the latest news, visit the iRadio blog at iRadioblog.com. (Music)

Raymond Hansell
Hi, we're back now with happiness expert Dr. Matthew Della Porta. We'll chat with Matt in a moment but first we'd like to share some big news here at BetterWorldians Radio. We've recently launched a worldwide kindness campaign. We're challenging BetterWorldians around the globe to watch a two minute video that illustrates the power of kindness. When it reaches a million views, we'll release funds for surgeries that will allow 10 kids in a developing world to walk for the first time. Please watch the video, share it with your friends at ColorWithKindness.com, that's ColorWithKindness.com. Dr. Matthew Della Porta will join us now. He's a PhD graduate from the University of California. Using his expertise in health and wellness Dr. Della Porta assists business professionals in cultivating optimal employee performance, engagement and organizational health while helping the bottom line. He has given evidence based recommendations to a variety of organizations wishing to emphasize employee wellness in their corporate cultures. Dr. Della Porta is also passionate about communicating complex research findings to general audiences, and to this end, he has given presentations to several organizations wishing to learn more about the latest positive psychology research and how it can be richly applied in the real world. In addition Dr. Della Porta writes a column offering advice on the pursuit of happiness on YouBeauty.com. Several of these articles have been featured in the Huffington Post. Now let's welcome Dr. Della Porta and cohost MarySue Hansell.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Matt, how are you?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
I'm doing well. It's great to be back on the show.

MarySue Hansell
Its great to have you back. This time we're going to be talking about workplace wellness. In the last segment we heard some really interesting information from Jenn Lim about the effects of Zappos in delivering happiness to focus on workplace wellness. What do you think about those efforts?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Well I'm just delighted to hear about things like what Zappos is doing and the offshoot Delivering Happiness. Really whenever I see a movement that's not only just utilizing happiness for individual fulfillment but is using happiness as a financially sound business strategy, that's really music to my ears because everyone wins in this scenario; the employees and the organization both benefit from promoting happiness and making it a priority. So I'm sure that Zappos in Delivering Happiness are making a huge impact both by leading through example and also by their interactions with other organizations.

MarySue Hansell
Certainly sounded like it. Why is happiness in the workplace important for the individual themselves?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Well, I think one of the simplest ways to look at it is that happiness is very closely related with employee engagement. Pretty much all organizations would agree that they want higher employee engagement. It's associated with productivity, lower absenteeism and things of that nature. What's interesting is that happiness has been shown to be a very effective way in promoting the employee engagement and morale and a bunch of other important bottom line outcomes. So as we were just talking about it, its actually a competitive sound business strategy and its also just the right thing to do. I think organizations that are making happiness a priority are really kind of operating at the highest level of ethical business practice and that's really to be commended.

MarySue Hansell
So you're saying that's why having a focus on workplace happiness is beneficial for the company. Can you say a little bit more about that?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Yeah I think research is really clear at this point that organizations that focus on workplace happiness do have a distinct competitive advantage. They have employees that are more productive. These employees that are happy tend to have lower insurance costs and other things like that. So what's great about making your employees happy is not only is it happiness for the employees but its significant bottom line results for the company as well so everyone wins.

MarySue Hansell
I guess that makes the companies happy too, huh?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Absolutely.

MarySue Hansell
I'm curious, what can companies do to create a happier workplace?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Well that's a really important question. There's a lot of different approaches. I don't think that there's any one-size fits all approach for any particular organization because I'm sure as we can imagine there's a lot of different organizations out there facing a lot of different challenges. The one that I use is backed by the American Psychological Association. It's all evidence based. Basically it suggests that for a happy workplace you need five major things. You need work life balance for your employees. You need to make sure these employees are getting recognition for their hard work and contributions. Third, you need to make sure that the employees are involved to some degree in decision making so they don't feel like they don't have any kind of say in what's happening around them. Also its important for your employees to have some avenues of growth and development within the organization. And lastly, its important for the organization to promote health and safety and educating their employees about how to manage their stress effectively and things of that nature. So those are the five things I generally preach as the best ways to improve a workplace and change a culture for the better, but that's by no means the only way to do it.

MarySue Hansell
They really sound like five great things. You know we know there are many companies that really don't make workplace wellness a priority these days. How can those people who work for those companies make themselves happier while working at those companies?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Well that's I think a challenge for a lot of people because the bottom line is a lot of organizations aren't coming around to this idea quite yet. I think if you give it enough time, most will, but the bottom line is a lot of employees do kind of feel like they're on their own when it comes to finding happiness at work and that the organization really isn't making any effort to help them with that. So I think the thing to focus on for an individual employee is basically in what respects do you have some kind of control over either your work environment, or more importantly your mindset at work. No one can come in and tell you how to think. They can influence how you think but ultimately its up to you. So to be a bit more specific, people that are at a workplace where happiness is not a top priority can make themselves happy by focusing on a lot of different kinds of things in terms of their mindset. It would be things like feeling grateful for the things that are going right. Trying to, to whatever extent possible, have an optimistic attitude, a positive mindset, and also doing acts of kindness for other employees. These are three things that not only just sound nice and kind of intuitive but there's a lot of research behind these things suggesting that if you're being grateful, you're being optimistic, you're doing nice things for people that has an impact on your happiness quite a bit. So really in general, anything that can give you a positive attitude and a positive frame of mind, especially in spite of whatever negativity there might be in your workplace environment, I think that's the key.

MarySue Hansell
That sounds interesting, so you're saying being grateful, doing kind things for other people, doing things really to lift your own spirit even though you may be in an environment that's not thinking about that for you as an individual.

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Absolutely.

MarySue Hansell
Matt, you have an interesting case study you deed with Beach Cities Health District in Southern California. Can you share a little bit about that with us?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Yeah absolutely, so during my time with the American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence, what we did there was basically try to find the best organizations out there that were embodying those five aspects of a healthy workplace that I mentioned earlier. And I had the privilege of going on a site visit to Beach Cities Health District and getting to talk to many employees, conduct some focus groups, collect some data and get a tour of the workplace and it was just phenomenal what I saw really. To begin with, with a name like Beach Cities Health District you can imagine there was a huge emphasis on the health and wellness of their employees so they saw for example just a pristine work site with onsite gymnasium that they can basically have access to any time they want free of charge. They had a lot of really interesting programs there. Like for example they had a community garden that employees could use to grow things and to take things home. They got free back massages, like on a chair if they brought someone to work out in the gym with them. They offered a lot of really interesting incentives that promoted health and safety in the workplace but also giving, as I mentioned, these other things. Like people really felt as if they had a sense of involvement in decision making. The CEO there described didn't just have an open door policy but she took the door off the hinges. It was that kind of a place. So by the time I got done touring that place, I wish I worked there. It was a pretty amazing place to see.

MarySue Hansell
Neat. Did that raise the productivity of the employees? I mean what kind of actual results did the organization see as a result of these practices?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Yeah, we collected some data there and got some interesting results and yeah, basically all the things that you would expect to happen with this much emphasis on a healthy workplace were happening. You had at a time before some of these things were implemented you had one level of productivity and engagement and of course these things were increasing as things went on. Employees surveyed said virtually all of them agreed that if I had a specific kind of personal change I want to make in my life, I want to quit smoking, I want to lose weight, that my employer would help me do that sort of thing. So you really just get a sense not just that its a place that employees go to work but its like a family in that sense really gives you strong bottom line results.

MarySue Hansell
Yes I think Zappos said that too in their book and Jenn Lim. I wonder, does it cost companies money to focus on workplace wellness and do you think its worth it?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Well first of all I absolutely do think its worth it. It's a question of how much you're willing to spend because in some cases what's great about promoting happiness in the workplace is a lot of these changes really don't cost a whole lot of money. Its making changes to infrastructure or kind of just modifying things in kind of subtle ways. Of course there are other more expensive things to do like for example you could potentially bring in a chef for the company that service healthy nutritious delicious food instead of having people go out to McDonalds during their lunch breaks. That of course costs a lot of money and that's not for every organization to do, but I have seen plenty of innovative instances in which companies are able to make these changes that really have virtually no cost to them.

MarySue Hansell
What do you think is the one thing that a business owner, a manager can do today to increase the happiness for their people?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Well, I think the best thing that can happen is really going straight to the source. Really sitting down employees either in groups or individually and making it clear that this is not an opportunity for you to complain or vent or anything like that. It's an opportunity for you to offer constructive proactive solutions to different kinds of problems that we're facing. No one is going to know better than the people that are affected by the problems day-to-day. So if a deliberate effort is made to consult employees about what they think the best options are, not only is that going to give you some of the best information to go on but also it ties back in with some of the things we talked about earlier that its going to make employees feel as if they're involved in the decision making, that their employer cares about their wellbeing and a lot times that can lead to recognition of employees that maybe were getting overlooked at one time or another.

MarySue Hansell
You said a little bit about this before, but what do you think is the one take away that people can have that make them feel better at work? What can they do, whats the one best thing?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
I think the best thing to keep in mind is that your mindset matters. You really have to recognize the fact if you're at a place where happiness just doesn't matter to your employer, you have an uphill battle ahead of you. Its not to say its a futile battle but it is a battle. You have to understand that its up to you what your mindset is going to be, so that's why I recommend things like doing kind things for people, using gratitude. At the end of your day, list three things that went well that day even if 100 things didn't go well. Start each day by shooting off an email or stopping by someone's office and making sure that they feel recognized for good work that they're doing. You need to be doing things that keep your mindset positive because if you don't do that, its like you're kind of just going to drift into the negativity along with everyone else and of course you don't want that.

MarySue Hansell
You don't want that. I'm very curious about the broader implications of this. What affect does happiness at work have on other areas of a person's life?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Yeah I think that's one of the most kind of incentivizing things about promoting happiness in the workplace, and certainly in my experience this has happened a lot where people quickly discover that it isn't just about how you feel, how happy you feel at work, that these things almost always tend to overlap with people's personal lives as well. So certainly it could come to things like your relationships at home. We talked about work life balance as one of the facets of a healthy workplace. So that's huge. If you have a good situation at work, you're going to be able to take that positivity home with you instead of the negativity that I think for a lot tend to bring home to their families and their loved ones. In addition to that, I think it can have a lot of impact on stress levels which are closely related to physical health, weight loss and other kinds of healthy behaviors that can start to be adopted. So I think its important to think of happiness at work not just really localized to the workplace but as quickly bleeding out into people's personal lives and into their homes. So it's really sort of a more kind of comprehensive look at things rather than there's your life at work and your life at home.

MarySue Hansell
I think we've all seen that happen with maybe our spouse or a friend when they come home with a real grumpy look on their face and we say uh-oh, we think they've had a bad day, so workplace happiness is so important.

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Oh absolutely.

MarySue Hansell
Does workplace wellness have wider effects? I mean can we all benefit by companies working on happiness?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Oh yes. I think, I wish so much that happiness in the workplace could become the norm eventually. We're kind of coming from this place where what we expect of an organization is to be cold, bottom line driven, doing whatever it takes to stay competitive, and to cut costs and things like that. That's simply what we've come to expect from the world's top businesses a lot of times and we're slowly starting to see that change. You're hearing things about Google for example and the amazing way that they treat their employees and all the benefits available to them. You're hearing about companies like Zappos and Delivering Happiness. So slowly but surely that's starting to change and I think the impact that would have could be really profound in terms of not just the employees working at these companies but also just imagine, I think a lot of people know when you go to a place that's treating their employees well, your experience as the customer is great. You feel like you're talking to someone who likes being at their job, is happy to be there and they're going to do everything they can to help you as the customer. So whether you're working at one of these organizations or you're a customer of one of these organizations, I think an emphasis on workplace happiness can really have a huge impact on people and set a new standard for what appropriate business conduct is. And slowly but surely I think we can start to think of big organizations not just as this kind of cut throat bottom line oriented places but as leaders in goodwill and charitable causes and other things of that sort.

MarySue Hansell
Now what kind of recommendations do you personally give companies looking to increase employee satisfaction in the consulting work that you do?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Yeah, as I mentioned, I think the main thing that I use is that APA model of work life balance, recognition, involvement, health and safety, and things of that nature. I think that's evidence based. That's something that I think really works very well. Part of what I do too that I think is really important is I facilitate discussions with employees, individually and in groups to really go over the logistics of okay what will it take to actually make these changes to your corporate culture. The way I frame it is for each thing we talk about, there's ways to change your organization, so either offer a recommendations or if you're an upper manager to actually make the changes yourself to the organization, but there's always opportunities to change yourself, to not necessarily rely entirely on the organization to be responsible for your happiness at work. So I do make a big emphasis on both, what you can do to change your organization, how you can change yourself, and as I mentioned in my experience I think a lot of people find tremendous benefit in this sort of thing both because it improves their work life so much and because it improves their personal lives so much. A lot of it is applicable in both areas simultaneously.

Raymond Hansell
Hi Matt, this is Ray. I just wanted to comment before we go to the break that we've seen a lot of the same kinds of experiences both in running a services organization with thousands of people and also consulting with organizations where essentially one of the things we've noticed is expectations. Sometimes people asked us do you think you could throw a little pizza party here and put some balloons in and suddenly happiness will emerge. We saw that the problems were much bigger than that. The expectation was just so outrageous that they didn't see that on the employer side. And I also have seen employees that basically just really aren't happy doing what they're doing, and they expect that their employer is going to make that happiness happen even though they're really sort of miss-fitted for the job. Have you seen expectations factoring in here as well?

Dr. Matthew Della Porta
Yeah I think that's a great point. I do think that expectations should be high but also to some degree tailored by realistic ideas of how long these kinds of changes need to actually take place and how much money they can cost and things like that. Personally one thing I've seen in the work that I do is that its relatively easy to get people excited about happiness in the workplace. No one is going to stand up and be like hey, I don't want to be happy in my workplace. I'm outta here. Everyone loves this idea. The question is how is it going to actually happen? What happens once you're back at work on Monday? That's really where the key changes need to happen and that's why I spend a lot of time working on the logistics of how these changes actual happen. To your point, I do think employees can if management makes a big kind of declaration that they're going to make some major changes and this is going to happen and that's going to happen, that's great and it can raise expectations very high, but I think employees have to understand the perspective of management and vice versa, that these things tend to take time. You're not necessarily going to change everything overnight and that there's a lot of trial and error with this sort of thing. You can't expect things to be done perfectly on the first try. A lot of things need to be experimented with and I think a company like Zappos in Delivering Happiness would certainly agree with the fact that there's a lot of adjustments that need to be made and different kinds of things need to be adapted to and over time, I think the expectation should be that you should see change but that it won't necessarily be immediate and it won't be without a few road bumps along the way.

Raymond Hansell
Absolutely. Well that's very well said. Matt, I'd like to thank you again for joining us again today on BetterWorldians Radio. You can find out more about Matt's work by going to MatthewDellaPorta.com. We're going to take our break right now and we'll be right back. (Music) We're making it easier to listen to the Voice America Talk Radio network live wherever you go on iPhone, Blackberry or android. Download it from the Apple iTunes app store, Blackberry app world or android market. (Music) How can we make it a better world? I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. Everybody needs to help their neighbor and then it'll spread from then on. I should do more. I could do more. I spend so much time on Facebook. How much time do I spend on Facebook? Probably more than I should be spending. I would definitely give back if I could find the time. Now, you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. Its called a Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. For more information visit Facebook.com/ABetterWorld. Follow us on Twitter@VoiceAmericaTRN. Get the low down on gas, new shows and your favorites. That's VoiceAmericaTRN. (Music)

Raymond Hansell
We'd like to thank you for joining us today on BetterWorldians Radio. We'd like to thank our guests Jenn Lim and Dr. Matthew Della Porta for joining us as well. Please join us next week on BetterWorldians Radio. We'll be talking to Caroline Boudreaux, founder of The Miracle Foundation about the journey that led her to create a non-profit organization dedicated to helping orphans realize their full potential. We have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks and if you know an unsung BetterWorldian who would make a great guest on our show, please send us an email at Radio@BetterWorldian.com. Once again we'd like to remind everyone that you could be part of a miracle by simply sharing our video challenge and help heal 10 disabled children. Its that easy. Just go to ColorWithKindness.com, watch the video, share it with your friends and give these kids the gift of a lifetime. Once again we'd like to thank everyone for listening today. You can join us and participate in our BetterWorldians community at BetterWorldians.com. And until next time, everyone please be a BetterWorldian. (Music)